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First Time in the Chair

First Time in the Chair

This article is dedicated to Kimberly Morgan Bossley, her bravery inspired me to write this.

I remember 3 1/2 years ago when the doctor gave me the horrible news that I had stage 4 prostate cancer. After it shattered my world along with all my hopes and dreams with it. I was wondering what’s going to happen next. I felt like I was all alone. It’s funny how you really don’t want to talk to anybody. It felt like you did something really bad. I kept saying to myself what did I do wrong to deserve this.

Trying to take in all the information

With a trip to my oncologist office, the doctor started talking about what my treatments are going to be like and he wanted to make sure that I’m going to be there for every treatment. The thing is with prostate cancer, it’s like snowflakes no two are alike. The oncologist told me that they’re going to put me on a certain drug for my advanced cancer. He gave me all the side effects that could happen but not necessarily that means that it would happen.

That is the one thing a lot of people don’t understand. While you’re in the doctor’s office make sure that you ask the doctor every question possible. And also bring your significant other with you so that way if you can’t remember what the doctor said maybe your significant other can remind you of it. The best thing to do is always make a list of your concerns.

Getting a power port

The doctor says also that they’re going to put what they call a power port in your chest about 4 to 5 inches above your nipple on the left side. With the power port surgically implanted, the infusion clinic is going to clean the area up with an antiseptic and they’re going to place a 90-degree Huber needle into the port. In order to put the chemo in your body, this is the safest way of doing it because a lot of chemos can actually destroy your arteries and veins. The power port is surgically put just below your skin and they put the tubing into your main artery. After a while, you won’t even notice it.

Infusion clinic tips

When it comes to your appointment, you’ll get a phone call from the infusion clinic saying what time to be there. This is where the excitement, anxiety, and fear all come into play. But it is not as bad as you think. Before you go, make yourself up a goodie bag. Usually two bottles of water, crossword puzzle book, Sudoku book, and a bag of hard candy. Sometimes the chemo can give you a metal taste in your mouth so having candy with you will help. And of course, if you’re diabetic, sugar-free candy. A lot of clinics have soda or different juice drinks in a fridge. They might have granola bars, peanut butter crackers, or cookies. Whatever you like to have as a snack, bring it with you. And the most important items to bring with you is your significant other, your friend, anybody that can sit there and be with you. It will make it go by so much easier with somebody to talk with and try to bring your spirits up. My infusion clinic has televisions with no sound of course but at least it’s got closed caption and it also has headsets that you can listen to music or bring your own music, through a headset of course. You have to be respectful of everybody that’s in the clinic. Remember that these people are very sick and a lot of them are just not in the mood.

What to expect in the chair

First time in the clinic you get a wristband with your name all the information on it and one of the nurses will lead you to the infusion area. When you walk in you’ll see a long row of chairs, just pick one out. Your infusion nurse will come over and introduce herself to you and tell you what’s going to happen next. A little secret on some of these chairs. They usually have a heat and massage button. Ask your significant other to pull the handle on the side so you can put your feet up.

The best thing if you have a power port in your chest is to wear a button-down shirt. It will make it so much easier for the nurse and for you. You need to undo a couple of buttons, the nurse will clean your power port with an antiseptic. Then they will prepare the needle, the best thing to do is just look the other way. It usually does not hurt too much. The nurse will take blood from your port that will go to the lab to make sure that you’re going to be okay to get the chemo. This is very important.

They’ll probably hook up a bag of hydration IV to give to you while you’re waiting. When your blood work comes back and you got the okay, I usually get a steroid in an IV bag and a Pepcid tablet for my stomach. After they will hook your chemo. Usually, the whole process takes almost 3 hour. That’s why I bring a book. You could also bring your mp3 player with a headset (remember to be respectful of others) or simply talk to your significant other or friend. It will make the time go by much easier.

You are never alone

Remember you are there to get healthy. Your loved ones want you around a lot longer. This is a very personal process and very difficult on the patient. One final thing to always remember…you are loved by everyone around you. You are never alone.

Your eyes tell me that
you’ll love me every day,
no matter what will come,
you’ll be there to stay.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The ProstateCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Will Jones moderator
    4 months ago

    Thanks @chuckcole for sharing your story. While I did not have chemotherapy for my prostate cancer, I can relate to the feelings of fear and anxiety that accompany getting a diagnosis, trying to educate myself and considering all my options. I particularly agree with your comments about being loved and not being alone. Such a huge part of the overall journey with any kind of cancer. Will Jones Moderator

  • Chuckcole author
    4 months ago

    Hello Kenneth1955, I’m glad you enjoyed the article. At the time when I was writing it, I wasn’t thinking too much about the sex part. Another one of my articles I do talk about that. My oncologist did say that sex (mine) was going to be difficult as the further I go in getting the chemotherapy. I had a very advanced cancer and I was on a drug called taxotere. My sex life went down the drain the longer I kept getting the chemotherapy of course my life expectancy did increase. Sometimes you have to take the good with the bad. If you look among prostate cancer.net, there are articles on the subject of sex. That’s the problem with chemotherapy and cancer it does Rob us of our fundamental things in life. Just keep going on with the fight. Stay strong. And never give up and never give in. Chuck moderator prostatecancer.net

  • kenneth1955
    5 months ago

    This was a very good article and I don’t mean anything with what I am going to say this is just my opinion. But getting rid of the cancer should not be the only thing to worry about. I do know it is something you have to do deal with if you want but I feel that my sex life is just as important. The doctor and the oncologist should also tell you what is going to happen from the from the chemo that you are having not tell you the day you get there. You should know everything before hand so you can decide if you want to have it or not. You may decide not have it because of the side effects and just live out your full life just the way it is. It is our life and we should be able do what we want. We men are all different and we all have different concerns

  • sarah.wallin moderator
    4 months ago

    @kenneth1955, you raise a great point. It is important to be aware of these potential side effects. That way, you can make an informed decision when it comes to your treatment. You might find interest in this article about sexual side effects from chemotherapy (https://prostatecancer.net/living/sexual-side-effects-chemotherapy/). I liked Chuck’s suggestion to bring a list of questions/concerns. This could apply for any appointment, not just the day you get there. -Sarah (ProstateCancer.net Team Member)

  • kenneth1955
    4 months ago

    Sarah………..Thank you very much for your reply. I have read many articles about prostate cancer. I would never consider Chemo or Radiation either because they can cause Retro ejaculation
    ( Excuse me for saying that your a young lady ) I will not give anything up to cancer. I will live out the last days the way I want not what a doctor tells me I need to have done. I have a very good Urologist and I do trust him but this is my life and I will live it the way I want Thank you again

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